Courtney Allan


Mon, 15 Apr, 2019

60 Minutes exposes Australia's big recycling lie

60 Minutes exposes Australia's big recycling lie

Many Australians thought that their country was decent at taking care of the recycling waste that was left behind, but an expose on 60 Minutes has shown them otherwise.

It has been revealed that the plastic isn’t being disposed of properly and mountains of recycling are being dumped, buried or burned in illegal processing facilities and junkyards across Southeast Asia.

Most of Australia’s plastic rubbish ends up being stockpiled in warehouses or shipped to Vietnam, Malaysia or Indonesia to be disposed of.

The Sunday night episode of 60 Minutes argues that since China stopped taking care of Australia’s plastic waste problem over a year ago, Australia has no idea what to do with the waste.

This is due to the lack of facilities within Australia that are able to reprocess it into new plastic goods.

Plastic Forests founder and owner David Hodge spoke to 60 Minutes about the problem, saying that Australians need to be enabled to recycle.

“I think most people in Australia feel lied to, I think they feel disappointed,” Hodge told 60 Minutes.

“Ninety per cent of people do want to recycle, and they need to be enabled to be able to do that.”

With 71,000 tonnes of Australian plastic being dumped in countries across Southeast Asia, Hodge recognises that there’s a problem.

“We haven’t built the infrastructure. We haven’t thought ahead,” he told 60 Minutes reporter Liam Bartlett.

“Now we’re here and we’re drowning in plastic.”

An analysis of our waste exports commissioned by the Department of the Environment and Energy stated that several Asian countries have proposed crackdowns on waste imports.

The analysis warned:

“If Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand enacted waste import bans similar to China’s, Australia would need to find substitute domestic or export markets for approximately 1.29 million tonnes (or $530 million) of waste a year, based on 2017-18 export amounts.”

Did you watch Sunday night’s episode of 60 Minutes? What do you think of the recycling problem within Australia? Let us know in the comments.